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chesilbeach

Middlemarch by George Eliot

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Apparently rural northern England hadnt moved on that much from Dorothea's time ;)

 

And if I had £1 for every time someone had said that....

:lol:

 

We got lucky too. :) We actually nearly didn't make it to our second anniversary - we both found adjusting to marriage very hard - and I think it was doubly hard for me as I moved away from the place I'd lived all my life (150 miles) and I was very homesick for the first year. We at least had the advantage of knowing each other for far longer than Dorothea knew Casaubon (we've known each other all our lives as we lived in the same village until Peter moved away when he was 14) but we had to work hard to get back on track.  I know someone who got married at the age of 20 (about three years ago) but that's definitely not the norm these days.

 

Well, I'm not so sure! I thought I was simply answering your question with a different viewpoint, and explaining why I thought that - all of it, of necessity, opinion. It's the sort of thing we do in my book group all the time. Any part of my reasoning may be wrong, but that's the way I reasoned it. I'm sorry if that causes you offence. I've no idea who knows best - we're dealing with a 'what-if' scenario, and, FWIW, I think there probably isn't any one right or wrong answer, but one can have a lot of fun debating it.

I'm sorry I went off at you yesterday. It's just that you seemed rather dismissive and it felt like you were telling me I was wrong and that you were right and that was that, but I apologise for misunderstanding. 

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I'm sorry I went off at you yesterday. It's just that you seemed rather dismissive and it felt like you were telling me I was wrong and that you were right and that was that, but I apologise for misunderstanding. 

 

It's difficult enough making oneself clear when talking - but when writing it's even harder!  If you felt I was being dismissive, that was almost certainly because I wasn't expressing myself sufficiently well: it's all too easy to dash off a reply without fully thinking through how it's might be received, so apologies from me too.

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It's difficult enough making oneself clear when talking - but when writing it's even harder!  If you felt I was being dismissive, that was almost certainly because I wasn't expressing myself sufficiently well: it's all too easy to dash off a reply without fully thinking through how it's might be received, so apologies from me too.

Sorry, Willoyd, but I missed this.  Thanks for the reply and it's true that it's hard to get things over on the internet sometimes.  :)

 

I meant to type up my thoughts straight away, but instead, although I made a summary of the action I didn’t write down any thoughts until tonight, so I hope I’ve remembered correctly.

 

Anyway:

 

I like Fred, but borrowing money from Caleb Garth because he thinks his Dad may be a tad annoyed about his debt was bad enough, but to do so and then gamble with his money to try to pay off his debt was just deplorable.  Now Mary’s brother probably won’t get his apprenticeship.   Mary has vowed not to become engaged to Fred while he is so irresponsible, but it seems as though an engagement is where these two are heading.  Time will tell, I guess…

 

Mr Wrench being thrown-over as the Vincy’s physician in favour of Lydgate means that Lydgate has inadvertently made an enemy. 

 

I wonder if Casaubon’s heart attack is a warning of his impending death? It’s a horrible thing to say, but I hope it is.  :o  I think he *has* to die.  I can’t imagine Dorothea having the rest of the story with him, but she can’t really leave him so therefore it seems to me that Eliot had little choice but to ‘write him out’!  In any case, Arthur Brooke inviting Ladislaw to stay with him will likely set the cat amongst the pigeons!

 

I did have a wry chuckle at Mrs Bulstrode warning Rosamond not to marry a doctor because he will never be wealthy.  If that’s true then it’s certainly a very different story these days – I think most, if not all doctors are handsomely paid!

 

It’s been a few weeks since I read this (I finished soon after we’d read book 2) but I have made a note on my Kindle that Mr Vincy is happy about Peter Featherstone’s impending death because then Fred will inherit.  I don’t think we know for a fact that Fred really is the heir, but I imagine he must be.  It will help Fred financially, that’s for sure, but what Fred will do with the money is anyone’s guess.  Let’s hope he isn’t frivolous with it if he does inherit!

 

I had another wry smile at Peter Featherstone’s relatives all turning up and hanging round, suspicious of one another and wondering what the will says, and getting in a twist about Mary inheriting.  She was good to stick to her grounds and not get involved in anything to do with the wills as she looked after Featherstone before he died.  I hope she doesn’t regret that decision…

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Sorry, I forgot to update this one after I finished book 3 :blush:
 

I wonder if Casaubon’s heart attack is a warning of his impending death? It’s a horrible thing to say, but I hope it is.  :o  I think he *has* to die.  I can’t imagine Dorothea having the rest of the story with him, but she can’t really leave him so therefore it seems to me that Eliot had little choice but to ‘write him out’!  In any case, Arthur Brooke inviting Ladislaw to stay with him will likely set the cat amongst the pigeons!


I'm really looking forward to Ladislaw arriving in Middlemarch - I think you're right, and it will provide some fireworks! I'm not sure that Casaubon will die, I think it'll be quite interesting for it to play out if he lives longer, as it will highlight the misery of Dorothea's plight, making her grow up and change her ideas about marriage, and the opportunity of real love she may have missed out.
 

It’s been a few weeks since I read this (I finished soon after we’d read book 2) but I have made a note on my Kindle that Mr Vincy is happy about Peter Featherstone’s impending death because then Fred will inherit.  I don’t think we know for a fact that Fred really is the heir, but I imagine he must be.  It will help Fred financially, that’s for sure, but what Fred will do with the money is anyone’s guess.  Let’s hope he isn’t frivolous with it if he does inherit!
 
I had another wry smile at Peter Featherstone’s relatives all turning up and hanging round, suspicious of one another and wondering what the will says, and getting in a twist about Mary inheriting.  She was good to stick to her grounds and not get involved in anything to do with the wills as she looked after Featherstone before he died.  I hope she doesn’t regret that decision…


It's going to be very interesting to find out what happens with the will and the inheritance … I suspect a few people are going to be shocked, and it will have further ramifications throughout the rest of the book.



Just to confirm, book four should be finished by the end of next week, Sunday 3rd May. :)

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I feel quite sorry for Fred, even though he’s no angel.  I think he really was counting on inheriting, so for Peter Featherstone to leave his money to an unknown, illegitimate, son is a bit of a kick in the teeth.  I wonder if Fred will go on to be a clergyman?  Somehow I doubt it, but time will tell…  It appears that Fred’s non-inheritance has caused problems for Rosamond too.  Her father will have to deal with Fred's debt after all, leaving no money for Rosamond – and now her husband is financing their marriage and home on credit, which I feel can only end badly for them.

 

I continue to admire Dorothea.  I’m not sure whether we’re meant to, but I do!  I think she’s a strong character.  Despite her wrong choice of husband and her frustration at his behaviour it seems that she’s really trying to make a go of things.  I genuinely think she is concerned for him.  I still don’t believe she loves him though. 

 

Casaubon's behaviour towards her might well push her into Ladislaw’s arms, which would be a scandal.  Casaubon tried to get rid of Ladislaw by telling him he didn't approve of Will taking on the job at the paper - but Will is going nowhere and he and Dorothea do seem to have a chemistry between them!

 

Sorry, those are rather incoherent ramblings but they're the best I can do! :giggle:

 

Is the next deadline 24th May?  :)

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I got a bit behind so I have only just finished book 4. Oops :(

 

Anyway. I feel desperately sorry for Fred. Yes he's irresponsieble but it seems as if everyone thought he would inherit - because Featherstone made it seem that way and has designed to shock people after his death as a means of entertaining himself in life. Not nice.

 

Like Janet, I am rather rooting for a Casaubon death and Dorothea to marry Will. An affair would definitely be deliciously scandalous but I fear too scandalous for Victorians! ;)

 

I'm enjoying the read and it finding it easy enough except when Eliot goes off on a random tangent for a couple of paragraphs and speaks to the reader directly. Those are imcomprehensible on a first read I find because they bear no relevance to the rest of the text.

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I haven't read the above posts as I'm still two chapters short of finishing book four.  I've been trying to catch up by listening to the audio book, but the version I bought is split into four parts to download, and the second part finishes at the end of chapter 40 and the third part starts at the beginning of book five and chapter 43!  Trying to find out if I can get a refund or a full copy, but I'll have to read the two missing chapters in the mean time.  I should be caught up within the next couple of days, and then I can read book five by the 24th. :)

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I'm still very much enjoying Middlemarch!  :)

 

A few thoughts on book 5...

 

Casaubon’s codicil has the potential to humiliate Dorothea as it’s so suggestive.  Anyone hearing could easily think here was something going on between Dorothea and Will and her reputation is definitely at stake. He is also echoing what happened to Will’s grandmother – she was disinherited for marrying someone her family didn’t approve of – and he will disinherit Dorothea if she marries Will!

 

Lydgate suggesting Farebrother be given the living at Lowick will improve the Farebrother family’s fortunes.  Lydgate voted against this happening earlier in the book so this suggestion goes some way to making up for that earlier ‘no vote’.

 

Raffles is such a disagreeable character!  He reminds me of a Dickensian ‘baddie’!  I rather think we haven’t seen the last of him, despite Bulstrode bribing him to stay away.  He’ll be back when the money runs out, as sure as eggs is eggs!

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I'm all caught up!
 
I'm really enjoying the book too, Janet. :)  Like you, I think Dorothea is such a strong female character, despite having made the wrong decision to marry Casaubon, she had the right attitude to make the most of it, and I'm sure she felt affection for him, even if she didn't love him.  I was listening a couple of chapters in the car, and when I got home had a rant at my OH about the codicil in Casaubon's will, not just because of the control he wanted to have over Dorothea after his death, but also of the implication that Dorothea is some how to blame and her character may be tainted by it, despite having done nothing wrong. :motz:
 
I love the diversity of characters Eliot has created, albeit within the confines of a small area, but without caricatures or stereotypes - at least I don't think there are.  And as with life, no story is ever quite over, as we meander through the different households, picking up where we left off, and continuing on the journey with each family.  I'm always eager to catch up with Dorothea, but also with Fred and Mary, and even Rosamund and Lydgate, despite not liking Rosamund very much at the beginning! :D
 
Just as a reminder, the date for book six is the 14th June. :)  I'm already part way through it, and I've got a couple of scenes I want to talk about!

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I have to admire you guys. I just couldn't sustain interest in a book over this length of time - it would simply lose me however well written. I had to read Middlemarch in a shorter burst (it took me just under three weeks). Presumably you're reading other books at the same time? I can manage a non-fiction and fiction side by side, but two fiction? I've tried that, and just can't sufficiently keep track of either story.

 

I can only echo your comments about the book itself - it's now on my all-time favourite, 6-star, list.

Edited by willoyd

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I've struggled to read it in one go in the past as it's so long that I found I was daunted every time I picked it up in that I never seemed to make much headway.  Reading it in instalments has helped me enormously, as I only have to read a single book at a time, and I know I can take a break and read something in between.  I've read a mixture of fiction and non-fiction in between but I find it very easy to pick up again where I've left off. :)

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I've struggled to read it in one go in the past as it's so long that I found I was daunted every time I picked it up in that I never seemed to make much headway.  

I usually find that the size of a book doesn't bother me: if it's interesting enough, then I'm actually glad it's long, as the enjoyment lasts longer, to such an extent that I think I now prefer my books longer.

 

Having said that, I recently found out exactly what you mean. I've tried reading Don Quixote a couple of times: each time I've really enjoyed it, but I never seem to make any headway, and after a time, I find my attention wandering to other books. I know this begs the question as to whether I'm really enjoying it, but I honestly think I am! Trouble is, I've tried episodic reading, and then I completely lose track of the story......!

Edited by willoyd

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I think I can see what Willoyd means. I've struggled to get into Middlemarch and as soon as I've got to grips with it again the installment finishes.

 

However, that really wasn't a problem this time. This was my favourite installment so far. I feel like I really know the characters now and want to find out more about their relationships. I love the character of Dorothea, she feels a little ahead of her time! I really want her and Will to end up together, so I'm very cross about this codicil as now people will assume there was something going on. Argh.

 

Raffles feels very much a pantomime villain at the moment. I hope and suspect we shall see him again!

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After I'd read the second or third book I really wanted to carry on and read the whole thing as I was enjoying it so much, but I like chatting to other people about each instalment so I've been happy to carry on as we are.  :)  

 

Of course I'm reading other stuff along side it, but it's not proving to be a problem.  Certainly Nicholas Nickleby, which was the last book Alex, Claire and I did this way, was originally written to be read in monthly parts (although nineteen months or whatever it was is just far too long!), but nineteen weeks certainly wasn't a problem.  :)

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Well, book six was full of controversy!

It's not looking promising for a happy future for Lydgate and Rosamund … not because of their lack of funds, but their lack of communication. Lydgate seemed to handle it reasonably to me, but Rosamund seemed almost determined to let it drive a wedge between them. And she's not my favourite person either, I was so annoyed when she told Ladislaw about the codicil in Casaubon's will.

Poor Will, he's not having a good time of it, is he? Even when Bulstrode opens up to him about the source of his wealth, he still doesn't get the whole truth, and is insulted by the bribe he is offered.

Once scene that did stand out to me was the auction scene … it seemed so modern in its tone and banter! I could have been watching an episode of Flog It! :lol: It actually made me chuckle, the first time in the book I've felt some humour coming through, and it was a nice bit of relief from the drama.

I'm actually a week late posting this (I got my dates mixed up), so at the moment, the end of book seven should be 5th July, if everyone is okay with that?

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I forgot to write down my thoughts on Book 6 but you've summed it up beautifully, Claire.  :)

 

I've actually read on and finished the book today because I want to start another classic in a few weeks time and reading two overlapping would definitely be too much for me!  I will try to jot down some thoughts on book seven by 5th July.  :)

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Have just ordered the BBC DVD to watch once finished.

We've already got the DVD on the shelf, but I've been holding off watching it until after I've read the book … it's been there quite a few years already, but looks promising that I'll be able to watch it later this year! :D

Have either of you watched it yet?  :)

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No, unfortunately, my DVDs have been moved up into the loft while the books are in boxes and the bookshelves removed, so it might be a while before I see them again! :roll:  Might have to see if it's online anywhere to buy/rent so we can just stream it.

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I've been putting this one off for ages now but this month I will give it a go. Will be reading Middlemarch in the... wait for it... middle of March. *drums* I know bad pun but I could not resist . I have high expectations for this one, I even bought a physical book so I don't read it on my e-book reader. Here's hoping it won't be a 900 page long snooze fest. 

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Some puns are just irresistible, aren't they? :lol:  Good luck with the book, Mr Cat, hope you enjoy it! :lol:  Beware if you go back through this thread that it will contain spoilers, so maybe only read back when you've finished the book :)

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No, unfortunately, my DVDs have been moved up into the loft while the books are in boxes and the bookshelves removed, so it might be a while before I see them again! :roll:  Might have to see if it's online anywhere to buy/rent so we can just stream it.

 

Well, given your enthusiasm for Virginia Woolf, you know what she said about Middlemarch?  IMO it's one of the all-time greats.

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